New Jersey: Have a Gubernatorial Election ASAP

All I can say in the wake of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey’s announcement yesterday is … uh … wait … there’s also some sort of scandal connected with this thing as well. Homeland Security issues … a foreign national his alleged lover and later, the naming of said object of affection as New Jersey Homeland Security chief.

Quick to judge?

It’s not merely that he’s come out of the closet, folks. For that issue alone, I give gim credit for his honesty. For that issue alone I would not want him out of office. If there was no unseemly business but purely consensual behavior by two adults, I would say, “So what?” I’d feel badly for his wife and child, as would half-compassionate person, and my Christian faith would lead me to certain obervations about what kind of life people should lead but, people are who they have chosen to be. And sometimes people are who they are. Besides, it’s never too late to tell the truth. (This goes for me too!)

But this whole thing has been so cunningly crafted so far. It’s slicker than Slick Willie ever was. So little of the whole truth has been disclosed, and we’re all left here with serious doubts and worries.

Governor McGreevey resigned yesterday but he’s not stepping down until November 15. This is so he can turn over the governorship to the leader of the state senate, Richard Codey, and avoid an election until November 2005. This is wrong! The time to step down is NOW in my opinion. It’s time to have an election ASAP. It’s time to give the people its voice. It’s certainly not time to deny the people its voice, when so little faith can be placed in the state’s current leadership.

Do un-democratic Democrats in New Jersey want to deny the people its vote here? Should good-willed Democrats and Republicans not get together on this and demand true responsibility? A just authority?

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg got the nod as Democratic nominee without a primary election a few years ago, in the wake of primary victor Robert Torricelli’s alleged scandals and resignation. For some reason I gave Sen. Lautenberg a pass. The seasoned liberal senator had served in the US Senate before, and he was eventually truly elected anyway against a far-right Republican, Doug Forrester, in the general election. (OK, I made some jokes about Lautenberg being the “Duke of Jersey” because there could have been a second primary and it just seemed like he was sort of appointed in an imperial manner. Still, at least there was an election in that case. Few choices, but still a choice.)

This time, New Jerseyans need a direct voice and they need it now.

Will the Republican Party stand up for what is correct? Will Democrats of “good will,” honest Democrats, keep their mouth shut? Will certain pundits and special interests continue to insist that this is purely about gay or human rights and not the total scandal that it appears to be, and likely is?

My recomendation: Let us demand some sort of basically honest gubernatorial election ASAP for everyone’s sake. Let the Democratic Party affirm its name. Or else, may it be deemed a total fraud in the Garden State … or else, may Republicans correctly use this against Democrats in future elections in a lousy but, nonetheless, legitimate manner. If Democrats don’t want to be democratic, then they should change the name.

Let’s clean up this mess now before it festers into something that must be amputated.
It makes no sense that Governor McGreevey should stay in office for another 85 days. Not in this case. Simple as that.

New Jerseyans: If you have any self-respect, then demand that the correct thing be done. Let us not deserve to be the “butt” of so many jokes. (Sorry about that!) Let’s be good and say we tried our best. Let’s not say we obfuscated our way out of perhaps the greatest political scandal in state history. Let us vote this year for governor.

I’ll admit to ignoring the maxim that “all politics is local.” I’ve never had a real interest in local politics since living in New York City, 1989-1994, just after college. I reported city and town council meetings for a couple local newspapers at different times in my career, so it’s not as if I’m totally ignorant about these things. But it all bored me. Literally put me to sleep sometimes.

Instead, I’ve been obsessed with the national and international political scene. I’ve tried to do good work as an editor-writer, but I’m guilty of not doing my job as a citizen of this state or in the local towns where I have lived. I’ve taken part in her treasures but have not participated in the electoral process in years (since 1996); even then, in terms of local politics I was uninformed. I ignored Governor McGreevey, didn’t even think about him, and so did many others apparently.

Time to reform. Time to think local as well as global. Time to be what we would seem to be: a democratic nation. Time to vote.

— A Loyal New Jerseyan

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